posted by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Sep 2010 22:22 UTC
IconBig Content, which already owns the Obama administration, is at it again - I guess mandatory monitoring software to scan every computer's content isn't enough. A bi-partisan proposed bill would allow US federal courts to issue injunctions that would order domain registrars or registries to cease resolving the domain name of a copyright infringing website.

"In today's global economy the internet has become the glue of international commerce - connecting consumers with a wide-array of products and services worldwide," said Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah) in a statement announcing the bill, "But it's also become a tool for online thieves to sell counterfeit and pirated goods, making hundreds of millions of dollars off of stolen American intellectual property."

Apart from this Utah senator - obviously not a very intelligent man since he doesn't even know the difference between theft and IP infringement - is joined by "Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), and committee members Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin), Arlen Specter (D-Pennsylvania), Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) [and] Senators Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio)". Just so you know what anti-freedom and anti-consumer rights people you shouldn't vote for next time around.

Anywho, Big Content is obviously pleased with this proposed bill. "These sites, whose content is hosted and whose operators are located throughout the world, take many forms. But they have in common the simple fact that they all materially contribute to, facilitate and/or induce the illegal distribution of copyrighted works, such as movies and television programs," said the MPAA's CEO, Bob Pisano.

"The trafficking of pirated American movies and music from rogue websites outside our borders is a big business," said Mitch Bainwol, RIAA chairman, "This bill is a welcome first step toward cutting off the financial lifeline that sustains these illegal operations and threatens the livelihoods of countless members of the American music community."

Of course, bill or no, people could still access sites via IP addresses, and it would be trivial to set up rings of alias domain names - US courts would never be able to keep this up. Also, not all domain registrars and registries are located in the US.

I was going to write something about unicorns, colons, and the act of shoving, but then I came across a very good comment over at Ars Technica by DNick which words my feelings about this proposed bill pretty darn well.

This is a wonderful idea that I'm surprised has not been implemented before now. I'm sure that the other countries of the world will more than welcome having Washington take over the nasty job of enforcing the wishes of the recording industry. Other soverign nations should be overjoyed that our government is not only willing to enforce the RIAA's unbiased views on copyright, but even to make decisions and take action on behalf of the other governments around what is or is not a violation.

I'm sure our government, which as we've all seen handles civil rights and personal freedoms in the most honest and open of ways, will appoint a purely objective and honest arbiter to decide what is legal and what is not. We can surely trust our government to keep this process free from polical or other inappropriate influence, and there's no reason to worry about a lack of due process when our beloved justice department decides what sites to shut down.

People, a war is brewing. No bloodshed will come of it, but no less dirty it will be, Who's side are you on?

British Lord Camden said it best when he warned for perpetual copyright back in the 18th century: "All our learning will be locked up in the hands of the Tonsons and the Lintots of the age. [...] Knowledge and science are not things to be bound in such cobweb chains."

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